Trust in the Workplace: 10 ways to increase your trust-factor

We are suffering from trust fatigue 

As the news headlines rave about the government shutdown, Gallap puts the plummeting trust in government into limelight: “Americans’ trust and confidence in the federal government’s ability to handle international problems has reached an all-time low”.

But the resentment towards the government is not the only thing that seems to have been hit by a historically low trust level. The sports industry has also been engulfed by a wave of mistrust as the news points out, “Who will want to watch great sporting achievement that cannot be believed?”

Let’s instead bring into focus issues that are closer to us. As Forbes hits us with the headlines, 82 Percent of People Don’t Trust the Boss to Tell the Truth”. It is certainly not a positive endorsement.  Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman PR expresses disapproval about the shocking results of Edelman’s Trust Barometer for 2013 : “We’re clearly experiencing a crisis in leadership,” While we are left wondering about the state of affairs in the trust department at work.

From the bitterness about the economic situation imposed by the government’s incompetence, to the hook-or-crook race to win strategy employed and knocking everything down in the struggle to the top in our offices, trust has really become a difficult target to achieve.

Actions are the tool for communicating a message of trust.

According to Deloitte LLP’s fourth annual Ethics & Workplace Survey conducted in 2010, around one third of American employees plan to look for a new job when the economy takes an upturn. Within this group, 48% cited a loss of trust in their employers and 46% mentioned a lack of transparent communication from the organization’s leadership as the primary reasons for the desire to switch jobs.

Trust forms essential component of the concept of “workplace sanity”. It sends out a message that somebody is worth your efforts and you associate value with the relationship by sending out a message of trust.

A simple change in how we interact with each other can foster a working environment

which encourages employees to work at their best potentials.

Philosopher and Baroness Onora O’Neill in a TEDtalk called “What We Don’t Understand About Trust” explains the importance of trust quite transparently, “You can’t rebuild what other people give to you. But, you can provide useable evidence that you are worthy of their trust.”

While business schools focus on teaching people the skills to manage work, what we really lack in a working environment is the sense of mutual trust and dependability. When we treat people like objects, trust begins to erode.

65% of American worker would choose a better boss over a pay raise…this tells us that trust is for many more important than money.

Cultivating trust in your workplace

Showing your co-workers that you respect your relationship with them begins with the conscious effort to bring about a change. Most of these changes are common sense approaches that revolve around relationship building.

Trust begins with acknowledging people generally, and recognizing their accomplishments and skills.

Trust grows in a relationship only when:

  • There is a mutual benefit for all the parties involved
  • You bring the best of yourself to the relationship with core values like integrity, honesty, tolerance and trustworthiness
  • You wish for the best for other individuals involved in the relationship
  • You do not restrict the relationship to the result of a single outcome
  • You are willing to invest time, communication, loyalty and genuineness
  • You hold an ability to exhibit care, compassion and concern
  • You display politeness, appreciation and acknowledgement
  • There is a balance between the give and take. While keeping your interests in view, you are still willing to give more than you receive
  • You are willing to help others achieve their dreams, aspiration and goals
  • You respect and show tolerance for other individuals with respect to their knowledge, state of mind, values, beliefs and needs

The key to developing more trust in professional relationships is bringing forth a change in yourself. The Chinese philosopher Lao Tsu said, “The journey of a thousand miles starts with one step.” So start with one person, one conversation and one acknowledgement and allow the trust within you to grow.

Business is a personal affair and this involves the relationship between those working together. Trust building is the stepping stone for relationship building.